Meaningful and Inexpensive Ways to Recognize Individual Achievement

Document created by 1050210 on Nov 13, 2014
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Published Date: 07/07/2014


Reneé Watkins

By Reneé Watkins


Everyone appreciates being recognized for their efforts, especially in front of their co-workers and management. It is surprising how much a very small and inexpensive gesture can mean to an employee. Often, what makes it special is the creativity of the recognition. Many of the more meaningful ways in which an employee can receive recognition take very little time and can be accomplished with very little cost. Both of these factors make it easier to recognize more employees, more often for their accomplishments and can go a long way toward overall employee happiness and long-term retention.


Here are some examples of simple, personal employee recognition that cost very little but mean very much:


  • Recognize an employee for their achievements outwardly, in front of their peers. This can be done with a bulletin board posting in the break room, noting an employee’s specific contribution to a project or team effort.
  • Mention an employee in your next progress or status report to upper management.
  • Authorize a corporate contribution to an employee’s favorite charity in their name, in appreciation for their work.
  • Have management cater and serve refreshments at the next project meeting. Also, you could host a breakfast or lunch for the team.
  • Arrange a meeting with an employee for the sole purpose of thanking him/her for their efforts on the company’s behalf.
  • Provide an employee with an additional paid day off from work. Or, schedule a day for an employee to spend with a mentor in an area of the organization where the employee has expressed interest.
  • Invite upper management to the next project meeting, where you plan to specifically recognize employees for their contributions to the project.
  • Write a letter of appreciation, placing a copy in their personnel file and sending a copy home to their family as well. Be sure to add your appreciation to their family for their support of the employee.
  • Create an “Employee of the Month” parking spot.
  • Send an employee to a non-career class of their choice. For example, their first flying or skydiving lesson.
  • Award tickets to a special concert or event in the area for the employee and their family.
  • Have a mobile car wash company clean and detail their car at the office.


Employees who may be feeling unappreciated for their efforts are not seeking big displays of recognition for their work. They are far more interested in a very simple, very personal recognition from management that shows management is paying attention to the details and their contribution.


If you have questions about rewarding employees, please contact a member of CAI's Advice & Resolution Team at 919‑878‑9222 or 336‑668‑7746.